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DH had affair - can't get over the pain.

(54 Posts)
saferniche Fri 30-Aug-13 16:33:17

Five months ago, just before our 20th wedding anniversary my DH told me that he'd had an affair, which he said had happened last year. He told me it was over (it wasn't of course, they were still in contact). After some ambivalence on his part I insisted on NC - after which his attachment to the OW evaporated pretty quickly. More ambivalence towards me was solved by my visit to a divorce lawyer and the firm insistence that he commit to our relationship or leave. He seemed hugely relieved at deciding to stay.

He's feeling a great deal of shame and remorse, is mortified at how much he's hurt me and we're making our way through the process of reconciliation. He's a lovely man, a great father and I don't want to abandon the marriage after what now seems to him like a dreadful mistake. But the pain and sorrow is unending.

Thoughts please, lovely (and not so lovely) mumsnetters.

Idespair Fri 30-Aug-13 16:38:32

You need at least 2 years to feel reasonably ok about things. 5 months isn't a long time, it's all still pretty raw. Sorry for your situation, I know how painful it is unfortunately having been through it. I am still with my dh, it's been 3.5 years since his affair (after 10yrs marriage) and we are doing quite well now.

PrincessKitKat Fri 30-Aug-13 16:40:51

I can't really help OP but I would think after 20 years of marriage such a deep, hurtful & personal betrayal (and the subsequent lies) are going to take a long, long time to heal and I suspect if it was me, they might never heal completely.
Are you 100% sure he's worth the heartache and second/third chance? What parts of him or the relationship don't you want to let go?

saferniche Fri 30-Aug-13 16:41:53

so glad you're ok Idespair. It's early days, I realise.

saferniche Fri 30-Aug-13 16:45:45

PrincessKitKat yes - it's the lies that really hurt - and out of character too.

That's a good question. Can you be sure 100%? He's very dear to me, I suppose, as a friend as well as a DH. He hasn't let me (and our family) down before.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 30-Aug-13 16:49:59

Why do you think he is with you?

From the way you describe what happened, it sounds as though you did all the fighting for the relationship and he just didn't want to get divorced when he had nothing better to leave for.

Do you think he really loves you? Or that he just wanted to keep his family together and his pleasant wifey onside?

I'm not sure I could get over my husband being so ambivalent about me and our relationship for such a long time.

Love isn't something you switch on and off.

saferniche Fri 30-Aug-13 17:02:21

I know - the ambivalence was hell. And I did feel I was fighting something (even more than fighting for something). I was confident that he loved me, otherwise I couldn't have done it. That may seem crazy in the circumstances.

It's now I can stop fighting, when he is being very loving, that I feel so sad.

I predict you'll get a lot of responses on here about how it'll never work. Mainly from people who didn't want to or couldn't make it work for them. That's their experience. What you are going through is yours. Just something to bear in mind.

I've been through similar - affair last Spring, separated, started a divorce, stalled the divorce, reconciled, cancelled the divorce, now together and with a baby added into the mix. It's been a roller coaster of a year, and not one I'd re-live in a hurry.

The questions you need to ask yourself:

Have you cleared up all the old hurt, misunderstandings and issues in your marriage? We all have them. Are there still things that bother you that have been swept under the carpet?

Why have you stayed? Dig deep and be honest. Why?

Has he changed? Really fundamentally changed? Anyone can say sorry. It means fk all unless they follow up with actions?

Do you know you'd be ok on your own or are you clinging on because the future seems too frightening if you don't?

What does he do when you are having a 'bad day'? I still have bad days! Show me someone in our position who doesn't and I'll show you someone hiding from reality.

If you can answer those and the answers suggest you are happy, then I reckon you can make it work.

As for the pain and the sorrow, well no, it doesn't go. I should keep off the relationships board really because reading other women's hurt exposes my own. But, in my case it has faded to bearable, due to the simple fact my DH does absolutely everything he possibly can to alleviate it. It doesn't sweet talk, he acts. I largely ignore words as he lied with the best of them at the time. I judge him on his actions.

I hope you make it work in whatever way is best for you. Never settle for second best. Follow your heart and be happy. That might be with him, or it might not.... but never settle.

saferniche Fri 30-Aug-13 17:10:33

worsestershiresauce thank you so much. I'm sorry to remind you.

These are all very good questions. I don't know if I have all the answers yet.

saferniche Fri 30-Aug-13 17:13:30

'I judge him on his actions.'

I think so too.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 30-Aug-13 18:10:26

His actions post-revelation have been positive with the big exception of breaking off with OW when he told you he had. And the fact you had to lay down the law about no contact. And you had to visit a lawyer before he was taking you seriously.

It was just five months' ago so a large proportion of that you were probably in shock. It doesn't sound like you gave him marching orders or demanded breathing space. Did this ever get aired with families or friends? Did he really understand what he jeopardised or was he anxious not to lose home and hearth and family life?

I was on one Relationships thread this week in which a poster very coherently described how she and her H had worked at their marriage following his affair. They're still together. The emphasis was on his hard work at fulfilling her stipulations. I'll PM you the specific one as MN forbids direct quotes from other threads.

You could have slammed the door and bolted it OP now your H has to be very clear the door can swing back open and be locked forever if there's any repetition.

ageofgrandillusion Fri 30-Aug-13 18:17:31

The ambivalence would be the killer for me. That's all really. But each to their own I guess.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 30-Aug-13 18:42:09

The fact that after the affair was uncovered and he wasn't in love with his girlfriend anymore he still didn't love you says a lot.

You don't suddenly realise you love someone just because they see a lawyer.

You realise you don't want a divorce.

That's not the same.

The fact that he felt relief at his decision to stay is really quite depressing.

It sounds like he stayed for safety and comfort and the safety of the status quo.

Why were you so confident he loved you?

What kind of love feels such complete lack of interest in their lover?

SawofftheOW Fri 30-Aug-13 18:57:50

worsestershiresauce hits the nail on the head. We are into our third year post-discovery and I still have bad days and pain - the jealousy and hurt at his emotional intimacy with someone who is not you is agonising, never mind the sexual betrayal. But the bad days are getting fewer, although I have 'triggers'. I still find it hard to watch stuff on TV or films where there is an affair involved and it is all painted as very glamorous, the 'OK' thing to do and entirely devoid of any pain for the betrayed partner, or the DCs. The OW was incredibly attractive (physically - she proved to have a scarily unpleasant and vengeful character once denied 'her' man), and I still struggle with how I look, my body etc, despite my DH's repeated assurances that he finds me attractive. He had told her she had a body to die for - the usual shit - but it has had a profound and lasting impact on my personal self-confidence.

He too displayed the same ambiguity towards me for some time and I know how completely agonising that is but reading Shirley Glass's book and Andrew Marshall's advice at that time and subsequently on how, when someone is in the affair 'bubble', they disengage emotionally from their spouse/partner made me realise he was not unique in his responses to me. He didn't do what I expected him to do when I found out - he didn't beg for my forgiveness and plead with me not to end our marriage - instead he told me he had 'never known love like it' as that he had found with the OW. I can not begin to explain how profound my shock was at those words; my world shifted in its universe and everything seemed utterly distorted and without any solid foundations any more.

Like you NC and profound heart-searching on both our parts enabled us to make A START on repairing our marriage. He moved jobs and ultimately we moved house after her harassment - after he finally ended it for real - became too intolerable (that's another and longer story). He too is genuinely sorry, utterly mortified and would do anything, anything to turn back time and never have done it. And like you, I stayed with him because I too believed that he still loved me, somewhere deep inside, in those early hellish months, despite his (secretly) continuing with the OW. Most of my friends said LTB. But I didn't want to. If he wanted to go and leave our DC and me, it was him that had to make the decision - I was not prepared to give him the luxury of making it for him. I know many others on this site don't believe this is the right approach, but for me, for us, our DC, it was. It is bloody, bloody hard. The hardest thing I have ever done and still do, but I don't regret it. Yes, I sometimes rage at myself for not kicking him out at the time and making him beg to come back, so that perhaps it would have kicked that early ambiguity into touch and therefore reduced my and the DCs suffering - but for me, despite being very far from a walk-over - it was not what I wanted. I am glad we are still together. I love him with all my heart and I believe that he feels the same about me. Someone wrote on this site that I was 'polishing a turd of a relationship'. They couldn't be more wrong.

Good luck, OP - more posters and lurkers than you can imagine have done what you have done. I admire the strength and courage of all those who have chosen the alternative path, equally I take off my hat to all those who grit their teeth and try and make it work (if given the opportunity and their DH/DP is sincere in his commitment). Thinking of you. Five months is nothing, nothing. You are still in shock and bereaved. You have lost what you thought you had and now have something different. But that doesn't mean that - ultimately - you won't find a peace with it. Thinking of you. x

saferniche Fri 30-Aug-13 19:25:35


You are wonderful. Thank you.

I need to read your post again and comment more fully and will be back later.

But thank you x

SawofftheOW Fri 30-Aug-13 19:56:58

Oh sweetheart. Believe me, I have walked many, many miles in your shoes and know absolutely what you are going through. The pain is like nothing on earth; my three very difficult labours were as nothing compared to the physical and emotional agony I went through and still go through.

However, and I know I will be flamed by some for this, I DO believe that it is possible to have a better marriage in many senses after. Not the same, never the same -the innocence has gone for ever - but coming so close to losing EACH OTHER can have a salutary and binding effect. We are thankful that WE hung on through the hell he and she put me/the DC through. I'm kinder to him, he's kinder to me - yes, we still row about it. But much less often. And do you know, sometimes we can laugh about it as well - I will throw back at him a remark she made to me or he made about her in his texts/emails if we are arguing - and suddenly we are laughing at the crassness of it all. It wasn't crass when I first discovered it, but time really does take the edge off the pain. It becomes fuzzier around the edges, and now I can go a day without thinking about it. Believe me, that's progress. You'll get there. Truly. Read Andrew Marshall. Read Shirley Glass. Holding your hand thanks. x

Whatelseisthere Fri 30-Aug-13 20:17:46

I've NC for this.

I had the affair. I left DH and moved in with OM.

He said that he would never stop loving me but that I had to do what made me happy.

The OM was abusive; I needed to get my shit together and break free of all kinds of issues caused by my horrible upbringing.

I left OM and had some intensive counselling.

After almost five years apart, DH and I are back together. I regret my behaviour every day, but the experience has forced me to confront my demons and I am at peace with myself and my marriage.

My DH's pain must have been unbearable. I wil regret that till I die. His forgiveness has been my salvation and we are both happier than we ever thought possible.

You have to look forward and have faith, along with all sorts of other qualities; the key is that you can both trust and forgive. Honesty and the ability to laugh and be vulnerable will help too.

It can be done. I wish you all the love and luck in the world. Tell him how you feel. He is with you. Show him how not to blow his second chance

People can change. Not everyone who cheats is in league with the devil.

'polishing a turd of a relationship'

God some of the people on here are revolting. To say that to someone who is already hurting..... hmm

One of the reasons I come on threads like this is because when I was going through hell, and needed help and hand holding the extreme right LTB brigade jumped on my thread and utterly destroyed me. The little shard of self esteem I had left after my DH's revelation was well and truly shattered by the time they had finished with me. I want to be there for other people who like me don't hate their DHs, don't believe the only way is to lock the doors and refuse to communicate, and do want to reach an amicable conclusion. I don't think all relationships can survive an affair, because sometimes they really are an indication that a relationship is over. I do however believe that some (like mine and Sawofs) can, and do end up better, stronger and kinder as a result.

Both parties have to 100% want a future together for it to work, and be 100% committed to making it work.

cronullansw Fri 30-Aug-13 22:24:10

An affair disrupted my marriage some 10 years ago. I was the adulterer, it took a couple of years to get back to normal, but it happened and we are still together.

Personally, I really dislike the LTB brigade on here. How can a 3 month affair, yes, with lies, deceit, loss of trust, sex and all the other bits that go with it, possibly overrule a 10 or 20 year marriage...... It's very easy being a keyboard warrior offering mock advice and making caustic comments and fake sympathy - 'I'm here for you love' - when who knows what state their own lives are in.

Everyone makes mistakes. That is how life works.

Good luck, you'll be fine - if you both want to be fine. smile

ageofgrandillusion Fri 30-Aug-13 22:45:11

Cronull - it is all well and good moaning about the LTB brigade. But an affair is an affair. There are some of us who believe that, in many cases, an affair, especially one that goes on for a while, renders a whole marriage meaningless. It is such a cowardly thing to do, the lowest of the low. What makes it even worse is the pathetic excuses that people on MN keep offering up for doing it. And then that old chestnut - "i had an affair but then had counselling and worked through my issues" bullshit. Why cant people just be honest - they thought they could get their legover without getting caught. If you truly loved and respected somebody - the bare minimum for a marriage surely - then it is something you wouldnt do, end of.

FrancescaBell Fri 30-Aug-13 22:45:52

Yours is a version of an 'open relationship' though isn't cronullansw?

I've often seen posts of yours where you admit that you continue to have dalliances with other women and you suspect your wife does the same with other men, but you never talk about it as a couple?

The advice from worcester seems more apposite to you OP.

No personal advice as never been through this, but I've had the misfortune to see the fall-out from lots of affairs in my time. Most of the time it's got nothing to do with whether these people love their partners or the quality of their marriages. I've seen a lot of foolish people who love their wives/husbands and really don't want to end their marriages, get involved with people who are equally stupid but who are good at stroking their egoes.

So it's got more to do with opportunity and truly shocking selfishness, than anything else.

The initial ambivalence is the worrying thing here.

Never known a couple to survive this without the unfaithful one going to therapy on his/her own and making wholesale and fundamental attitude and behaviour changes.

Has he done any of that yet?

What prompted his confession?

ageofgrandillusion Fri 30-Aug-13 22:52:44

Cronul - if yours is indeed an open marriage then your comment in this thread is, frankly, irrelevant.

cronullansw Fri 30-Aug-13 23:10:55

Incorrect Francesca; I've said we were open in the past but that in the last decade I've been entirely faithful.

You don't need to apologise.

Whatelseisthere Fri 30-Aug-13 23:12:19

And then that old chestnut - "i had an affair but then had counselling and worked through my issues" bullshit. Why cant people just be honest

I wrote my post in good and honest faith to give another opinion to the OP.

I'm wondering who you think you are to decide that my experience is 'bullshit.'

I would not dream of dismissing someone else's experience of their marriage.

Perhaps you are omnipotent or psychic?

Or perhaps so very closed-minded that an experience you cannot accept must be dismissed as 'bullshit.'

FrancescaBell Fri 30-Aug-13 23:18:44

I know I don't need to apologise- and won't because I think you are being highly disingenuous cronullansw.

However this thread is for advice to the OP and I'm sure she's more than capable of using Advanced Search if she needs to check out the credentials of people posting on her thread.

AspieGran Sat 31-Aug-13 00:10:01

Saferniche, five months is still very early days, you will have got past the stomach churning, inability to eat, almost physical pain.

But the self doubts are more difficult to deal with, is he only here because he has nowhere else to go, does he still think about her, perhaps divorce is easier and so on.

The only way I could cope with this was by telling dh what I was feeling, regardless of whether this would push him further away but these discussions were a major part of the healing process. This continued for a year or so. This was difficult for dh, and, yes sorry but therapy helped him work out why he got himself in the mess he did.

He had to cope with this, it is part of our relationship and history.
Although good people can do bad things, all actions have a consequence.

Many years later I do think about it now and again but it is no longer a trauma, (which tbh is the only way to describe it when it happens)

God that all sounds a bit smug, difficult to type what I mean, all I want to say it is bloody hard work initially, but in my case it did work out

cronullansw Sat 31-Aug-13 04:49:37

I'm not being disingenuous in any way Francesca, so please, don't refer to me any longer.

Grandillusion; you have your opinion, I have mine. I'm living proof that one can move on after an affair. I'm like the majority of Europeans - an affair is not something one needs to destroy the family unit over. It seems to be mainly the middle class British who see it as such a crime.

Op, I'm amazed you've not had more poisonous LTB vitriol on here, which you don't need while in pain, you CAN get trough it, I hope you do.

WinkyWinkola Sat 31-Aug-13 05:09:41

If someone devastates their partner emotionally by having an affair then yes, it is a "crime" against their marriage.

I'm certain lots of Europeans as well as m/c and w/c and u/c British people regard it as such.

Anyway, op, I feel for you. I really hope that you are slowly being able to regain trust and feel like you don't have to watch the whole time.

But it will take a long time and your oh has to prove his mettle consistently.

ageofgrandillusion Sat 31-Aug-13 05:19:35

Crunul - thats simply glib generalisation re europeans v uk and affairs.
Worcester - my post wasnt directed at you personally, sorry if it came over that way. It was general comment on the affair, counselling, all-is-forgiven, next affair merry-go-round.

Age don't worry, I don't take anything personally on here any more, as we're all individuals with individual circumstances, individual experiences etc. I've never been to counselling, nor has DH. His affair wasn't about getting his leg over and unfortunately getting caught. We as a couple were in a mess, both unhappy, seemingly in a dead end. I think we both wanted to get out somehow. I thought about divorce all the time before it happened, and we never talked.

I guess that kind of mess is easier to recover from than one where someone is simply caught up in the thrill of an affair, and wants that as well as the wife. He wanted out, and he was a coward about it.

Some of the stories I read on here I think LTB. Others I think, hang on, there are reasons behind this, it could work out if you want it to. The only people who know though are those going through it.

If you love someone let them go. It's actually a good basis. Who'd want to be with a partner who was only there out of guilt or obligation. It'd be no life.

saferniche Sat 31-Aug-13 10:40:10

ageofgrandillusion asks: 'Why can't people just be honest'? And you're right. But sometimes it takes a while to be honest with yourself about just how stupid you were. That it was a very ordinary stupidity.

worsestershiresauce 'The only people who know though are those going through it.' Absolutely. People in RL have been supportive, positive. But I supported a friend in telling her H to go, a few years ago - he was a repeat adulterer who felt in all honesty she should just accept him the way he is, however nasty he was to her. I watched him storm away from her lawyer's office after realising she would get the lion's share of their assets. It was a fine moment. I wouldn't hesitate to act if I felt it was the right decision, or if it were a case of 'guilt or obligation' or biding time before another 'adventure'.

I wanted to reflect more on SawofftheOW's post. I feel so sad that your confidence has been knocked, that he felt the need to tell you she had a 'body to die for' and he'd 'never known love like it'. Reading that I thought poor bugger, she pretty much killed everything he cared about. I'm sure he is mortified. You should be very proud of your courage and strength, the fact that you're not unpleasant and vengeful, or cruel and selfish. And I'm glad you can laugh about it together at times. You deserve many thanks

I'm not as worried by the ambivalence as I would be if I didn't remember in my 20s getting involved with unsuitable people, convincing myself it was lurve and getting over the attraction surprisingly quickly. Not that my dh has said he was in love with the ow. I find it perplexing, but I suspect it's just depressingly commonplace. What I do think is hard though is facing up to your mistakes and taking on the work of repairing the marriage. You have to decide to do that work, which he has consciously and willingly decided to do. I bet in his position I too might have wanted to run away - not that he would go when I told him to.

saferniche Sat 31-Aug-13 10:54:12

AspieGran thank you for your post. I don't have all those doubts - fortunately. But I have sometimes felt it would be easier to leave, even exciting to move on (this is the risk people take when they make the decision to have an affair). It's reassuring though to hear how you've come through your experience.

saferniche Sat 31-Aug-13 11:54:03

Whatelseisthere quite took my breath away - five years!

'the experience has forced me to confront my demons and I am at peace with myself and my marriage.' Cool beans, as a friend of mine says. Good luck to you both. I'll repeat some more of your post because I want to read it again:

'You have to look forward and have faith, along with all sorts of other qualities; the key is that you can both trust and forgive. Honesty and the ability to laugh and be vulnerable will help too.

It can be done. I wish you all the love and luck in the world. Tell him how you feel. He is with you. Show him how not to blow his second chance'

thank you smile

JoinYourPlayfellows Sat 31-Aug-13 13:24:54

"I'm not as worried by the ambivalence as I would be if I didn't remember in my 20s getting involved with unsuitable people, convincing myself it was lurve and getting over the attraction surprisingly quickly."

But even after he got over his love for her, he was still ambivalent about you.

Where was his love for YOU during all of this time.

You seem to be OK with a husband who can feel nothing for you at all, even in the absence of a distracting more attractive option.

But it's hard to square his ambivalence towards you until you were planning to divorce him with someone who really loved you all along.

Upnotdown Sat 31-Aug-13 15:15:19

Hi OP. I found out just over a year ago that my DP of 17 years was having an affair that had gone on for 18 months.

Our situation is probably completely different to yours. I withdrew from the relationship prior to the affair starting, didn't want intimacy/friendship etc and was used to him being bothered about it, asking me why, trying to talk. This is where I take responsibility (partially) for the state of the relationship.

I first started noticing something had shifted when he appeared less bothered. That gradually turned into resentment, shouting, blaming me continually for everything, staying out for the night because 'his friend needed him', to me holding the door open for him and asking him to stay away half the week as I couldn't put up with his moods. Eventually, I had an anonymous phone call from a man telling me what had been going on.

DP walked in about 3 hours later, completely oblivious. I confronted him, he denied it for hours.Then it came out. I shouted, screamed and kicked him out. Changed the locks, kids were in bits (they luckily had stayed in their nan's the night before so didn't witness any of this). He never said he wanted to go, never said he found her more anything than me. Just kept saying sorry, he was lonely, needed someone, nothing serious.

I spoke to her - she saw things differently. Said they were getting married, pretty much. He has always maintained that it wasn't 'real'.

I found out all sorts of things that I never thought he was capable of.

But after living apart for a month (he didn't move in with her although I know he stayed with her for one night, a day after I threw him out), and lots of talking we got back together.

It's been hard at times - the pain is incomparable to anything I've ever known. But we're over a year on and things are great. We didn't have counselling, we've had a few dark days where the pressure was through the roof (I sometimes asked for answers that he cant give) but the love we have for each other is real and was worth saving to both of us. His apologies, actions and remorse have helped.

At this point, I don't wake up or go to sleep thinking about it. He does everything he can to keep me feeling loved and re-assured.

The low point after he came back was the OW acting like a crazy. I contacted her boss. She tried to take me to court. He arranged to meet her behind my back TWICE to appeal to her better nature and ask her not to. He told me afterwards but I wasn't happy to say the least. And she still tried to take me to court - went on for 6 months before she stopped trying (she didn't have a leg to stand on but her solicitor was clearly making a fortune out of her - I didn't even instruct one, it was that stupid).

Sorry for the hour-long confessional - other peoples experiences help/helped me through a very difficult time. If you're both committed, it can work. And (unlike me) try and keep resentment towards OW out of your head - it only really hurts you, doesn't solve anything

saferniche Sat 31-Aug-13 20:28:02

JoinYourPlayfellows he hasn't mentioned love - he was attached to her or at least to something about the experience. I've no idea what she felt about him but she's certainly not pursued him (or me). She was divorced btw.

'Where was his love for YOU during all of this time.'? Good question. But I don't believe people necessarily stop loving their dh or dw - whatever they say to the op (or themselves). Ambivalence means mixed, contradictory feelings - hardly helpful when on the receiving end but in its extreme form temporary, especially when real loss is threatened. I should think he was confused about what he was feeling, what it meant, what he should do. He's no longer ambivalent in that way. I am though, occasionally.

Btw psychoanalyst Adam Phillips says: 'Everyone has to deal with ambivalence' - and if this idea interests people (it interests me) this is worth watching and not irrelevant to the themes of a thread like this:

I may sound glib but it was hell, partly because it was so sudden and I'd had no idea this was happening. You can't make a decision based on fear. I read a lot online, like most people, but when things were uncertain the best book I found was called 'Fear' by Thich Nhat Hanh, which is about mindfulness. I felt as if this kind man held my hand through the worst moments.

saferniche Sat 31-Aug-13 20:44:18

hi Upnotdown

Thank you for the confessional smile

Did you work out why you'd withdrawn from your dh before?

I'm sure there are similarities, long marriages are difficult. I'm not by any means faultless.

'She tried to take me to court.' She did WHAT? I have to ask on what grounds (though you don't have to tell me).

I will try to take your advice.

littlebunnyfriend Sat 31-Aug-13 20:52:42

You know what? This might not be helpful at all, but you sound like a really lovely person. And the love that you have for your DH comes shining out in every post. I hope that your DH is the good man who made a mistake that you are making him out to be, and that your marriage keeps going from strength to strength. As long as you believe in the two of you, long term, I think you can make it. xxxx

saferniche Sat 31-Aug-13 21:04:35

littlebunnyfriend you're gorgeous smile Can I stroke your bunny ears?

JoinYourPlayfellows Sat 31-Aug-13 21:16:42

"But I don't believe people necessarily stop loving their dh or dw"

I don't either.

But it would appear that your husband stopped loving you.

Which, now that you've won and he's decided he wants to stay with you after all, is why you're feeling ambivalent yourself.

I think you owe it to yourself to explore your ambivalence.

He was quite happy to indulge his own until you forced his hand.

You don't have to put up with sorrow and pain that is unending.

If it won't end for you, you don't owe him sticking around just because that is what he has belatedly decided suits him.

You've done your fighting.

If he's as good a man as you say, you should be able to explore your own feelings about this and see if your ambivalence will give way to the same kind of certainty as his did.

mammadiggingdeep Sat 31-Aug-13 21:49:49

I admire your determination to give him another chance. I mean that genuinely. When I found out I was being cheated on I asked him to leave, within tje first few weeks I just knew I'd never be happy with him again. I knew that every day I'd feel second best and a bit 'tarnished'. The sadness you describe is so understandable. I knew that they'd be a lot of sadness and hurt whether I stayed with him or whether we split. I felt, for me, that tje sadness after sitting would eventually lead me to a happier place. I was so humiliated and hurt that I felt the sadness if I stayed with him would never fade completely.
I hope he works really hard to make you happy and contented with him again. I really hope your sadness fades completely xx

saferniche Sat 31-Aug-13 22:01:41

JoinYourPlayfellows you seem very certain!

My occasional ambivalence reflects pondering what it would be like to go, be somewhere else, make a fresh start... even though I love him.

saferniche Sat 31-Aug-13 22:04:18

thank you mammadiggingdeep I hope you're in a happier place now xx

JoinYourPlayfellows Sat 31-Aug-13 22:12:25

How can I be certain?

I just think you should explore all your options.

This only happened to you 5 months ago.

Don't be one of the women who spends the rest of her life forcing herself to believe the lies she had to tell herself to make staying OK.

Staying might well turn out to be OK. The pain might end.

You might eventually have no ambivalence.

But right now, you sometimes do.

Maybe making a fresh start somewhere else would be the best decision of your life?

This is the time to really consider it.

saferniche Sat 31-Aug-13 22:18:07

fair point. But aren't we all occasionally ambivalent? 'We love and hate the ones we love - and hate'

'Don't be one of the women who spends the rest of her life forcing herself to believe the lies she had to tell herself to make staying OK.'

That sounds a darn sight harder than leaving! I wouldn't have the energy.

JoinYourPlayfellows Sat 31-Aug-13 22:30:39

"But aren't we all occasionally ambivalent?"

Are we?

I'm not. And if I were, I would pay attention to it.

You have a lot of options here. Let yourself explore them now you have the opportunity.

Many people who have been married for 2 decades owe more loyalty to the marriage and their spouse than you do right now.

Best of luck, whatever you do smile

You sound an amazing woman, and I think you deserve more than a husband who only started caring because he didn't want a divorce.

I'm sure there is a lot more to your situation, but that's just how it reads to me.

He didn't fight for you. You had to fight for him.

Now the fight is over, you get to take stock and make your long-term decisions.

I'm sure he will be more than happy, as a man who truly loves you, to support you in that.

antimercy Sat 31-Aug-13 22:43:39

name changed
My dh had an affair four years ago, we've been together 17 years. I still don't know if I forgive him and can love him again, or trust, but said I would try.

The pain is worse (and can come on suddenly) when we're happiest and things are going well, I find. I'm quite certain I shall leave him one day. It's less raw, and I'm no longer affected by it in the way I used to be, however, which is a blessed relief.

saferniche Sun 01-Sep-13 07:55:28

'Many people who have been married for 2 decades owe more loyalty to the marriage and their spouse than you do right now.' And I bet he knows that.

The visit to the family law solicitor was enormously empowering - he gave me a great deal of advice and none of it was about money.

Thank you for the compliment smile

saferniche Sun 01-Sep-13 08:01:56

antimercy - it's chilling to acknowledge that you don't know if you can forgive someone when they've hurt you so badly. It's so sad.

newbiefrugalgal Sun 01-Sep-13 08:17:22

Anti mercy sorry you are going through this.
At the moment I have given my dp another chance -I feel so scared that what you have written will be me.
We are just over a year since discovery -I wish the pain would stop, I wish I would never think about ow again but she just keeps popping up. Bastard I hate you for doing this to me.

saferniche Sun 01-Sep-13 10:14:28

newbiefrugalgal does your dp know how you feel now?

onefewernow Sun 01-Sep-13 10:56:22


I am two years on, come November. H was unfaithful, mainly online, but for at least five and a half years, and with a heap of lying and gas lighting.

In some ways our relationship is better than before. It is much more open, though he will always have a reserved personality. He helps more, and is no longer subtly controlling about all sorts of issues eg how we spent time, or how much I know about his spending .

However, for me, it will never be the same. I would like to say it is better on the whole, but there will always be that crack in the vase.

I have forgiven him, so it isn't resentment, and I truly believe he won't do it again. But he will always have done what he did, it can't be undone.

Our counsellor said something helpful- we are back for a second round with him, since March. He said that everyone should periodically review their relationship, maybe even monthly if you want. You ask the question, " is this relationship still working for me?"

That gets you away from having to decide all the time whether you are right to stay. It means that if it is working enough for you to stay now, you can still decide it isn't in the future. It puts you back in control, I think.

Even though I am now over 50, I am able to say to myself that my relationship suits me well enough now, there isn't a lot of animosity, we are good company together, and it is better for the kids than living in single parent poverty. If the balance changes for the worse for any reason, I can change my mind and still move on in the future. It isn't just about scrambling out in time to find a new man. Even if I wanted one, I don't thing age is such a barrier. There are plenty of 20 plus year olds who are still failing to meet someone, it isn't just people my age.

I decided what my bottom line was in terms of having a man in my life, and I measure against that.

saferniche Sun 01-Sep-13 13:55:23

onefewernow thank you for such a frank and considered post. Of course you're right, plenty of people remarry later in life. It sounds as if this may be what happens for you when you're ready.

Your counsellor advises: 'everyone should periodically review their relationship,' and that at least is true (although you might hope with a loving and not clinical eye). We take too much for granted.

saferniche Sun 01-Sep-13 13:58:42

talking to people on here (and some thoughtful and generous advice) has helped to make me feel better today. Thank you, all smile

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